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Robert Parker's Wine Advocate / If the Barbaresco Costa Russi expresses itself with purity and grace, the 2016 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo struts out stacked and tall. It has firmer textural support and is not as timid or as withholding as the Costa Russi. The Sorì San Lorenzo site is located closest to the warm air currents that travel down the Tanaro River valley, and this vineyard site is always the first to ripen and be harvested. You get a stronger mineral note here with iron rust, pencil shaving and potting soil intertwined with the primary fruit, showing dazzlingly intricate complexity and depth. This vineyard site suffered in the 2017 vintage from some hail damage that hit on July 19. The quality of fruit is expected to be good, Gaia Gaja tells me, but yields will be reduced next year.
This wine made history when it became one of the earliest single-vineyard bottlings of Nebbiolo in Piedmont with the 1967 vintage. Sourced from the GAJA winery's top growing site, San Lorenzo, located just south of the village of Barbaresco in the famed cru Secondine, the wine is made with 95% Nebbiolo grapes and 5% Barbera. This practice hails back to the earliest era of Barbaresco, when the lighter-bodied Barbera was traditionally blended into the tannic Nebbiolo to temper its power and structure.
In 2000, with the release of the legendary 1996 vintage, GAJA decided to reclassify this wine and use the Langhe DOC appellation on the label, ommitting the Barbaresco DOCG. In part, the motivation for this change was purely semantic. As the number of single-vineyard bottlings grew in the 1990s, their popularity began to eclipse the importance of the traditional, classic Barbaresco, a cuvee or blend of many different vineyards. In a sense, the gesture was meant as a testament to the winery's steadfast belief that Barbaresco is one of the great wines of the world and should be accompanied rather than overshadowed by its single-vineyard fellows.
Winemaker Notes/ Deep red color. Incredibly complex aroma's of quince and strawberry compote greet your nose upon first approaching the 2016 Sorì San Lorenzo. Extremely rich, the entrance is a mind-boggling combination of power and refinement, with layers and layers of persistent fruit covering all area's of the mouth.